Editor | Fiction
In a crumbling neighbourhood in New Delhi, a child waits for a mother to return home from work. And, in parallel, in a snow-swept town in Germany on the Baltic Sea coast, a woman, her memory fading, shows up at a deserted hotel. Worlds apart, both embark, in the course of that night, on harrowing journeys through the lost and the missing, the living and the dead, until they meet in an ending that breaks the heart—and holds the promise of putting it back together again.
Called the novelist of the newsroom, Raj Kamal Jha cleaves open India’s tragedy of violence against women with a powerful story about our complicity in the culture that supports it. This is a book about masculinity—damaging and toxic and yet enduring and entrenched—that begs the question: What kind of men are our boys growing up to be?
The novel takes off from the night of a horrific rape in New Delhi, where Jha leaves behind the story that was, and sets out in search of a story that could have been, opening a conversation, listening to voices that can, perhaps, find utterance only in fiction.
The City and the Sea, Jha’s fifth and most audacious novel yet, is a call for empathy and imagination in the fight for justice. It’s also one possible answer to the fundamental question which drives the art of the novel and is the basis of all hope: What if?
Raj Kamal Jha is the chief editor of the Indian Express. The newspaper has won the Vienna-based International Press Institute’s India Award for Excellence in Journalism four times. For the newspaper’s achievement in investigative journalism, Jha was awarded Journalist of the Year at the Red Ink Awards by the Mumbai Press Club in 2017. He got the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, for his ‘journalism and fiction that tell stories of a changing India with honesty and courage’. His fiction has been translated into more than a dozen languages. This is his fifth novel.